During internet shutdowns, the internet and mobile apps are intentionally disrupted to control information and dissenting voices. Journalists cannot report the news or hold governments accountable, which increases the chances of human rights violations and crimes being swept under the rug.
Depriving people of access to information
The number of internet shutdowns around the world is dramatically on the rise. Across Southern Africa, governments have used internet shutdowns at critical moments such as during elections or public protests. In the first half of 2019, Southern Africa already witnessed internet shutdowns in Malawi, Zimbabwe, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Internet shutdowns violate the human rights of the people and deprive them of access to independent and reliable information.
Free Press Unlimited has supported the physical publication of the manual 'Navigating Litigation During Internet Shutdowns in Southern Africa'. This manual was developed by the Southern African Litigation Centre and the Media Institute of Southern Africa and explains the legal considerations relevant for challenging internet shutdowns. Making printed copies available ensures that the guide can still be accessed in high-risk countries during an internet shutdown.